Philip Montoro, Reader music editor
Anaal Nathrakh, The Codex Necro On its 2001 debut, this UK duo plays a hybrid of black and industrial metal that sounds like a man being turned inside-out by a lawn mower. I bought the album this summer, after a commenter on an Invisible Oranges post titled “In Praise of Disgust” described it by saying it “makes me feel like I’m both covered in filth and also going completely insane.”
Clutch Because Clutch can act as a lady repellent, I’ve taken to hiding my enthusiasm behind a cowardly qualifier—they’ve become “my favorite white-guys-with-cargo-shorts-and-sandals band.” But I’m not ashamed of loving what they do with bluesy southern boogie, dirty swamp metal, and paranoid math rock, and lately I’ve been aggravating my girlfriend with the recent reissue of 2004’s Blast Tyrant—especially the hellfire swagger of “Profits of Doom.” I’ve also picked up a bottle of New Belgium’s Clutch beer, which I’m saving for an occasion.
Professor Longhair, “Big Chief“ Earl King’s classic R&B number about Mardi Gras Indians is now a ubiquitous New Orleans parade song, but the definitive version is this 1964 single, arranged by soul hit maker Wardell Quezergue (known as “the Creole Beethoven”), who died last month at 81. I’ll never get tired of the Professor’s jaunty whistled melody, or the way the drummer flogs the shit out of an exuberant volley of rim shots on his big fills. If this doesn’t make you want to dance down the middle of the street in the most outrageous outfit you own, something went terribly wrong earlier in your life.
Melissa Geils, co-owner of BLVD Records, old-timer at Laurie’s Planet of Sound
The goth revival The recent resurrection of moody, darkly inclined music couldn’t be more fitting. Sure, none of the new bands can beat real OGs like Joy Division or Sisters of Mercy, but nothing delights me more than this current wave of gothic-punk sounds and black lipsticked/nail-polished youth running around in the night. I call it “nu goth/darkpunk,” and I love it. Check out Cult of Youth, Staring Problem, Pleasure Leftists, Bellicose Minds, Pop. 1280, Arctic Flowers, and Vex.
Jefferson Starship, “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” I listened to this song about a thousand times over the summer. Why? Because it’s great. It’s a horribly, tackily, wonderfully great artifact of shitty 80s stadium rock—and a totally posi feel-good jam. And Grace Slick is cool no matter what era. And it’s such a good karaoke song. Seriously. I’m OK with me and that’s all that matters, I guess.
Iannis Xenakis Modern classical can be complicated, beautiful, and weird, and Xenakis’s compositions are prime examples of all that. An engineer and architect, he wrote pieces that drew on the most outer limits of mathematical formulas and are the dawning of modern experimental and electronic music. He used things like “stochastic processes” in his works. I have no freakin’ clue what that even means, but just YouTube “Xenakis Metastasis” to take a look at this awesome lunatic’s mind and mathematical process. Those notations are mind blowing. Also see: his electroacoustic works (holy hell).
Lisa Marchese, publicist for Late Bar and singer for Beware, My Lovely
The Black Angels The psych-rock revival is quickly becoming a new obsession. The Black Angels are a huge part of that movement. They give a nod to some of my favorite bands—the Velvet Underground, Spacemen 3, and 13th Floor Elevators. Plus nothing says “rainy fall day” to me like some good psychedelia.
Blow-Up Not only does this Michelangelo Antonioni movie encompass all things hip and mod in the 60s, but the classic bit where the Yardbirds play and Jeff Beck smashes his guitar is one of the best performance scenes in music/movie history. It’s just so punk rock.
Patti Smith, Just Kids Smith’s book goes through her life and humble beginnings. The main focus is her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe, but this beautifully loving and complicated relationship is part of what makes her a rock ‘n’ roll icon—a truly beautiful punk-rock poetess, activist, musician, and woman. A great, touching read and an integral part of punk history.